Neil Gorsuch

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

On the final day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Democratic leader announced his opposition to the Supreme Court nominee.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer said Gorsuch "will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation," setting up a showdown with Republican leaders who may attempt to change Senate rules.

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Judge Neil Gorsuch has been grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 18 hours of questioning over two separate days, and the proceedings are not finished yet. On Thursday, the committee hears testimony from witnesses about Gorsuch's qualifications to be a justice of the US Supreme Court.

Today is the 4th and — what is scheduled to be — final day of the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch. Testifying about the Supreme Court nominee will be experts and outside groups. Gorsuch himself will not be taking questions, or in the hearing room.

In a hearing that stretched through nearly 12 hours Tuesday, the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch took a long step toward Senate confirmation.

Barring an utterly unforeseen reversal when the questioning resumes Wednesday, observers expect Judiciary Committee approval along party lines on April 3 and a similar win on the Senate floor.

Twenty senators took turns asking questions for half an hour each. The Republicans tried to get the country to share their affinity for the nominee. The Democrats tried to tie him to President Trump.

After a day of statements, Tuesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearing was all about answers. Judge Neil Gorsuch was careful in his responses to Senate Judiciary Committee members, but there were still a number of insights that marked the day. Read our full Day 2 coverage here. These are five highlights:

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NPR Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

One of the themes that developed on Day 1 of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's hearings is that Democrats plan to make an issue of what they say is the Supreme Court's pro-business leanings. In their opening statements on Monday, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee argued that Gorsuch is likely to continue the trend.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island alleged that when the court's majority is made of Republican appointees, the narrow 5-4 decisions "line up to help corporations against humans."

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Judge Neal Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, begins his three-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Republicans have praised the federal appeals court judge as a brilliant jurist who would continue in the conservative mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who he's vying to succeed. His nomination also fulfilled a key campaign promise for Trump, who helped woo wary Republicans with his pledge to nominate a conservative justice.

Editors' note Monday, 12:55 p.m. ET: Since this story was first published, we have added material from another former student and former law clerks of Gorsuch, as well as more information about Jennifer Sisk's political affiliations. On Tuesday, Gorsuch disputed the allegation himself during his confirmation hearing and explained the lesson he intended to teach.

At most Supreme Court confirmation hearings, questions focus on hot-button social issues — abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage — and the hearings next week on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be no exception.

But senators are also likely to spend a lot of time examining the nominee's views on federal regulations — of the environment, health and safety laws for workers, and laws on consumer rights and business.

In question is a doctrine that Gorsuch has criticized but that also once helped his mother.

The Chevron doctrine

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to open hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, the game of confirmation cat and mouse is about to begin. Senators will try to get a fix on Gorsuch's legal views — and the nominee will try to say as little as possible.

Supreme Court scholars and practitioners on the right and left may disagree about whether they want to see Gorsuch confirmed, but in general there is little doubt about the nominee's conservatism. Indeed, his conservative pedigree is the reason he was picked.

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Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

President Trump started the day by blasting a Democratic senator who revealed criticism of Trump from his nominee to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Judge Neil Gorsuch told Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he found President Trump's recent attacks on judges to be "demoralizing" and "disheartening." Gorsuch made the comments during a private meeting, and a member of the Supreme Court nomination team escorting Gorsuch through the get-acquainted meetings also confirmed the remarks to NPR's Tamara Keith.

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It seems like five weeks and not five days since the president announced he would be nominating federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia may not have been the original originalist, but he popularized what had once been a fringe legal doctrine. He argued for it both on and off the U.S. Supreme Court and brought originalism into if not the mainstream then at least into the center of legal debate.

In Washington, D.C., the cognoscenti confidently predict that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be easily confirmed. But both supporters and opponents are chastened by the predictors' embarrassingly wrong prognostications over the past year. And that is presenting Senate Democrats in particular with a strategic dilemma.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last night, President Donald Trump made good on his promise to appoint a conservative justice to the court to replace the late Antonin Scalia. His choice? Judge Neil Gorsuch.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Senate Republicans and conservative groups quickly rallied behind President Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, as Democrats focused on lingering anger over another jurist: Merrick Garland.

"I had hoped that President Trump would work in a bipartisan way to pick a mainstream nominee like Merrick Garland and bring the country together," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement in which he pledged a "thorough and unsparing" confirmation process for Gorsuch.

After a dozen tumultuous days in the White House, President Trump on Tuesday night found a way to unite his party, delight his most ardent supporters and change the storyline on his nascent presidency in a single stroke.

It wasn't magic that did it, it was the choice of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

President Trump has nominated conservative favorite Judge Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

"Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible justice as soon as the Senate confirms him," Trump said in announcing his pick.

President Trump has selected federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill a Supreme Court seat that has sat vacant for nearly a year, setting up a blockbuster confirmation hearing that could put the new White House's domestic political agenda on trial in the U.S. Senate.